Australia police say Melbourne attacker was known to authorities

Policemen block members of the public from walking towards the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne Australia on Nov 9 2018

A knife-wielding man has stabbed two people, one fatally, in Melbourne in an attack believed to be linked to terrorism, police said.

A vehicle was seen burning on the northern strip of Bourke Street near the Target store, and a man was shot by police after an alleged stabbing, according to the Age.

Victoria State Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton told a press conference that the male assailant stabbed three men before one of the responding police officers shot him once in the chest at the scene.

The horrifying scene was over in a matter of minutes after police shot the attacker, who died after being rushed to the hospital under police guard.

Police said that his improvised explosive device was made up of gas cylinders and some form of lighter and "certainly wasn't sophisticated".

Officers were initially called to reports of a vehicle fire near Bourke Street, a busy thoroughfare, at about 4.20pm local time.

"A second person has been taken to hospital with a head injury".

Australia's counter-terrorism command has taken a lead role in the investigation and police set up a three-block-wide exclusion zone as forensic investigators combed through the scene.

A Reuters witness said that the city centre was closed off by police and that dozens of officers were on patrol.

The police found "barbecue style" gas bottles in the vehicle involved in Friday's incident.

One of those officers was forced to shoot Shire Ali in the chest - the 30-year-old later died in hospital.

Police in Victoria have officially named the attacker behind the deadly stabbing in the Melborne CBD yesterday afternoon, identifying him as 31-year-old Mohamed Khalif, who was also known to go by the name of Hassan Shire.

The man, whom police say had been on their counterterrorism radar already, set a auto on fire in the city to attract a response and then began swinging a knife wildly.

Authorities say they do not perceive any ongoing threat.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the "evil and cowardly attack".

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has since commended the bravery of those like Trolley Man who did their best to render assistance during the attack.

Witnesses have described hearing a loud bang during the incident.

Her immediate thought was, "Oh no, not another Bourke Street incident", she said.

The bystander said that other people had run and hid. The militant group said in a statement released through its Aamaq media arm that the man was "one of Islamic State fighters" and carried out the attack in response to IS calls for attacks in countries that are part of the global coalition fighting the militants in Syria and Iraq.

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